I Can Do That! DIY Halloween Sign for the Non-Crafter

project BOO

Nothing shouts Holiday Spirit like lovingly (or painstakingly?) DIY-ed decorations, but not every mama was born with a glue gun in one hand and grosgrain ribbon in the other. Fear not, my non-crafty friends! With the help of my best friend Hobby Lobby, some pre-cut lettering and two sheets of crafting paper, this project is a can-do for even the most creatively challenged.

My holiday project: a BOO sign. Hang it in the entry, set it on a bookshelf, or add it to your front door. My inspiration was a rustic Beetlejuice-inspired Halloween, so I stuck with darker colors and distressed my paper. This project would be darling in bright orange gingham lettering with black polka-dot background, or even orange and white chevron lettering over the trendy and fun mustache print paper, though… Just find whatever paper best suits your décor and holiday theme.

What You’ll Need:

project tools

–       2 sheets of 12×12 crafting paper (I chose black & white striped and an orange/gray/black chevron, but feel free to mix it up with whatever paper tickles your Halloween fancy)
–       wood plaque (for simplicity sake I got a simple rectangular piece, but, for more of a challenge, you can always get the fancy shapes)
–       small wood letters: 1 “B”, 2 “O”
–       Modge Podge (I like matte, but there are several “finishes” including gloss for a shinier look)
–       Glue gun
–       Scissors
–       Pencil
–       3 Foam paint brushes
–       Acrylic paint (I used two different colors because I already had them, but to save money you can use the same color – for this project black is probably best)

Step 1: Paint the Plaque

TIP: To save time, money and trash, apply your paint directly to the wood and/or brush
TIP: To save time, money and trash, apply your paint directly to the wood and/or brush

I chose to use a dark gray acrylic paint for my plaque because I thought it “blended” with my paper best. You can stick with one color, like black, for both the lettering and the plaque, or use whatever color you think looks best with the paper you chose. Remember, I went with a distressed but “blended” look, so the gray fit best with my chevron paper, but if you want the paint to stick out, use a contrasting color instead.

*NOTE: the wood will soak up the paint so let the first coat dry  a few minutes and add a second coat before moving on to the next step!

step 1

Step 2: Paper the Plaque

– After your paint has dried, lay your paper on the plaque. Decide how you want your patter to be situated, then cut the paper to fit. You can either measure it or just set the paper on the wood and make small snips at the edges to mark where you should cut. Cut or tear (for a more “distressed” look), the paper paying careful attention to any pattern on your paper to make sure you have everything positioned correctly.

project step 2 paper

– Then, use your spray adhesive to adhere the paper. I sprayed the back of the paper and then I started on one end, smoothing the paper down a tiny bit at a time. This spray adhesive will cling quickly, so be sure you have your paper positioned correctly. I just used my hands to smooth the paper, holding the opposite end of the paper UP so as to not accidentally touch the board, but feel free to use a popsicle stick or other smoothing device.

project step 2 spray


project step 2 smooth

– My next step is OPTIONAL, depending on how much you’re wanting to put in to this… I like the edges of my paper to, as I’ve mentioned, “blend” (i.e. taking the strict visual line of where the paper ends away). I call it “Paint Blotting”: basically, I took the paint color I used for the edge of the plaque (gray) and gently blot a very small amount of paint all around the paper. I literally just tap-tap-tap (or, blot-blot-blot, as it were) the foam brush to make the paper “flow” in to the painted edge. I didn’t take a picture of the paint blotting on the plaque (sorry!), but see near the bottom of Step 4 for a paint blotting example on the letters.

– Once your paper is smoothly on, grab a clean, dry foam brush and put a THIN layer of Modge Podge over paper. If you’ve never used Modge Podge just remember a little bit goes a LONG way! It basically makes the paper wet, so gentle is the key word. In the same way you did the spray adhesive, remember to do a very small section at a time. If you start to see bubbles, smooth it over with your finger, then go back over it with the brush after you have pushed out the air.

step 2 mp

Step 3: Paint the Letters

– Find the paint you chose to coordinate with your letters’ paper. I chose black because it blended the best with my black and white stripes. Remember, you don’t have to paint the whole letter  because the center will be covered with paper, but they’re so little it wont take too much time/paint to just get the whole thing. Focus on the edges and the interior of the letters, which will show the light wood greatly if not coated well, especially if you use a dark color or black.

step 3
I used a piece of scratch paper to catch the excess paint from my lettering – I’ll use that excess paint in a little while!


Step 4: Paper the Letters

– While your paint dries, grab your second sheet of paper, laying it face down on your table. Position your three letters (FACE down) on top of the paper, adjusting them so that they all fit with room to spare on any given side. Before I trace, I always check one last time to make sure my design (stripes, in my case) are facing the direction (horizontal/vertical) that I want. Then trace away (see? I said you didn’t have to be crafty!!).

step 4 paper

– After you trace, grab those scissors, mama. I’ll warn you: this is the most tedious part of the process, but it’s worth it! Cut the outside of the letters, first. Remember, the front of the letter is smaller than the back, so when you cut don’t be afraid to do so well within the traced lines… Lay your cut paper over the letter and, once aligned, you’ll see where you need to trim to make it fit exactly. If you get the same letters I did, there is a “lip” or edge; the paper should not hang over that lip.

step 4 trim


– Now for the holes in the letters (I call them “circles” in my instructions, understanding that they are not literally circles, friends, but you get the drift…) Take your paper letters and bend the letter, not so much as to make a crease, though, in the center of one of the circles. Once the front/like sides are facing one another, cut a quick and small snip right there in the middle, where the hole will be (see Picture 1, below). Once you have that snip, you can cut over to your traced line and cut all the way around the traced circle (see Picture 2, below). Then, for the last time, set your paper letter on your wooden letter and trim any excess.

step 4 cut
Picture 1


step 4 cut around
Picture 2


– Do the same spray adhesive, paint blotting, then Modge Podge routine you did on the wooden plaque.

step 4 paint blotting
In addition to the “Paint Blotting” I dipped my finger in the still-wet paint on my scrap paper and used a tiny bit to distress the inside of the letter (for my messy Beetlejuice look).


Step 5: Glue, Baby, Glue

– Fire up that glue gun, because you’re almost finished!

step 5 i heart

Space out your letters on your plaque – I just eyed it, but you can measure it so one of your “O”s isn’t off like mine ended up!

– Don’t be shy about the glue – you want a lot – remembering to steer clear of the edges, though, as to prevent seeing any globs.

step 5 glue

– Lastly, if you want to hang yours, grab whatever grosgrain ribbon you’ve got and glue them to the back of the plaque. Again, I just eyeballed it, but feel free to be more exact than me! Don’t forget to sear your edges so they don’t fray.


Step 6: Enjoy Your Creation

– You’re done!!! Now step back and look with awe and amazement that YOU, Ms. I Don’t Craft, made this fun Halloween sign; it’s Boo-tiful and Spook-tacular (I couldn’t help it – I had to say that.)

step 5 bookshelf

Happy Crafting!!![hr]

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Although not a native Texan, Maggie has enjoyed getting to know the city of San Antonio with her husband, a native to San Antonio. If she were a bumper sticker type of person (which she vehemently is not) she might have one of those “I didn’t grow up in Texas, but I got here as soon a I could” stickers. Maggie enjoys staying home with her children and loves the daily calamity that is raising her son (born 2011) and daughter (born 2009) in Boerne. She would always chose outdoor activities over indoor, sweatpants over dresses, crafting over TV, and cupcakes over… anything. It feels like her life has been full of “learning experiences”, and Maggie loves to share about having a micro-preemie in the NICU, her experiences as an adoptee and a heart patient, and about her family’s experiences with adopting a child on her blog Mondays with Maggie. Life is an adventure and she’s thankful to have the perfect amount of OCD and ADHD to keep up (most days).


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